Words by Tammy Esten – Founder of Mint Snowboarding
As the owner of Mint Snowboarding and having spent the majority of my life in the alps sliding around on snow, I can definitely vouch for the extreme fun in snowboarding. This is a fun that invades snowboarders of all levels & generations, often turning rather obsessive! It’s a fun that should exist from the first time you strap a snowboard to your feet… and it should never die out. This is why professional instruction is so important.
Taking lessons… as a beginner?
So you want to learn to snowboard… a great idea! Taking lessons, vs teaching yourself, will teach you the basics using a tried & tested program involving a gradual progression of skills. This will build your confidence along with your skills and help reduce risk of injury. Your overall rate or learning will be much faster as well as preventing you picking up bad techniques that are difficult to get rid of once they are set in.
Snowboard lessons are designed to be fun and a good instructor will ensure that your stoke levels are sky high at the end of each lesson. Your snowboard instructor will also ensure you are learning on the optimum equipment for your level and that it is set up correctly, specifically for you. The trained, eagle eyes of an instructor will enable them to give you individual feedback directed on where you are going right or wrong. These are things an untrained eye is not able to pick up on.
If you are investing in learning to snowboard and taking a snowboard holiday, I cant stress enough the value of spending a little more to ensure that you enjoy one of the best holidays of your life rather than ending up frustrated, bruised, battered and angry with your partner / friend. Don’t loose out on the fun & excitement of what could become your favorite hobby!
Taking lessons… as an intermediate or advanced rider?
Due to the initial steep learning curve with snowboarding, relative beginners can quickly get around the mountain with ease (and often a general lack of control). However these riders will soon hit a frustrating plateau very early on in their snowboarding ‘careers’ and struggle to progress any further no matter how much time they spend on snow. So many people fall under this somewhat wooly category of an intermediate… and so few people get beyond it. The best way to avoid this frustration is to get some professional coaching from a Technical Performance course.
Many snowboarders complain that they only get a weeks snowboarding holiday a year and thus this time is very precious to them and they don’t wish to ‘waste’ this time & money in lessons. They couldn’t be more wrong! This time could be put to great use learning news skills. Progression equals fun!
Knowing how to improve and what to work on will boost the fun factor and keep you motivated. Snowboarding is awesome, but snowboarding is ten times more awesome when you feel that you are progressing; whether it be learning new tricks, riding new terrain or discovering new aspects of snowboarding, such as splitboarding. For example, imagine the feeling of landing your first 360 when you had previously never dared dream that it might even be possible.
There’s always something new to try, that’s one of the joys of snowboarding!
And for those who have already progressed to an advanced level, do you think that the likes of our Olympic Bronze medalist, Jenny Jones, have got there without a coaching? Quite simply, no. Remember, a ninjas training is never complete.
What type of lessons should I take?
Lessons can come in all sorts of formats; from private lessons to group courses and snowboard camps to specialized courses & sessions. Find something that works for you.
Whilst generally more expensive, private lessons can be a great way to speed up the learning process, whatever your level or aims. Get exactly what you want out of a lesson that will be designed specifically for you, private snowboard lessons are the ultimate way of achieving your goals as well as offering a great way to boost confidence for a nervous learner.
Group snowboard lessons allow you to enjoy the experience of learning with others of the same level and are a cheaper option. If you take lessons at a reputable school then group sizes will be small (ideally max 6) and you should receive individual attention within a group lesson setting. Group lessons are not just for beginners; intermediate and advanced riders should look out for technical performance courses and freestyle sessions.
One of the best ways to progress your riding is by joining a snowboard camp. These are designed with solo-travellers in mind and are designed to be a week dedicated to fun and progression. You will find that a full week of coaching gives you time to make solid changes to your riding, get new tricks dialed or spend a full week shredding the backcountry.
Can I learn from a friend / partner or teach myself?
The simple answer is NO! A highly qualified instructor will have a wealth of knowledge, techniques & experience not just in how to actually snowboard but also in how to teach snowboarding. This just cannot be matched by a friend, who no-doubt has a bunch of bad snowboard habits themselves, as well as no idea how to break it down, teach & analyse… even with the best intentions. A good snowboard instructor also has endless patience, empathy, creative teaching techniques… and will not give up on you, no matter what. Keep happy relationships with your friends & partners and invest in professional teaching!
There really is no substitute for a lesson from a professional instructor. Whether it’s your first time on snow or you’ve been snowboarding your whole life, everyone can progress with a little help.
About Tammy Esten
Tammy is the owner of Mint Snowboard School in Morzine / Avoriaz and has been teaching snowboarding for over 13 years. Not only does she have an incredible passion for snowboarding, but also for sharing this love with others. Mint Snowboard School offers progression for everyone, beginner to pro, via group lessons, private tuition, snowboard camps and instructor training. They also specialise in freestyle coaching, mini-shred lessons, backcountry guiding & splitboarding.
If you want to maintain your relationships we strongly advise that you don’t teach your friends, partners, sister or brothers to snowboard! Apart from the fact that familiarity means that you will be the person they take out their frustrations on you may also pass on ‘bad’ habits you didn’t even know you had.
It’s true that every now and then, instructors do bear the brunt of a client’s frustrations but it generally quickly dissipates and there is no opportunity to carry it on in the pub that night. In the words of one of our very own clients… ‘it just spells disaster’… need we say more.
Read on for our 10 reasons why you should choose lessons over being taught by a friend!
- It is far more inappropriate to get irritated with an instructor if you are feeling frustrated and so take a deep breath and carry on!
- It is not as easy to quit when the going gets tough
- All Mints instructors are qualified to the highest international standard and super experienced across all aspects of snowboarding
- You will be taught how to snowboard following a well thought out and researched teaching system
- The instructor will have a wealth of knowledge and techniques to help you get past annoying niggles
- Learning to snowboard properly from the start will give you the confidence and solid riding skills to progress your riding further
- An instructor won’t give up on you!
- The coaching stays on the mountain and doesn’t follow you home allowing you to take a break and look forward to the next days lesson
- There is a mutual respect between your instructor and you
- Good banter and interesting chat with someone new on the chair lift!!
Mint Snowboard school is keen to get the local snowboard community learning & progressing, so we are organising snowboard programs specific for you… whether you are year round residents, seasonaires or kids living locally around Morzine, Les Gets, Avoriaz or Chatel. So to help you take your riding to the next level we are offering group courses at significantly reduced rates to all locals this winter.
We are will be running the following courses:
Freestyle progression course: Aimed for those who already have a reasonable freestyle level and wish to progress their freestyle skills to the next level. Will include rail riding, jumps, spinning, halfpipe & piste jibbing.
Freestyle introduction course: Aimed at relative newbees to freestyle snowboarding this course will include an introduction to rail riding, jumps, spinning, halfpipe & piste jibbing.
Girls Only Freestyle course: This course is for girls only, allowing you to develop your freestyle skills in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere! Will include rail riding, jumps, spinning, halfpipe & piste jibbing.
Technique progression courses of Learner, Cruiser & Advanced rider levels: Content will depend on level, but focused on improving basic to advanced technical skills to allow progression in areas such as riding steeper terrain, carving,riding variable terrain, off piste, freestyle as well as general confidence building.
Thursday & Friday afternoons, starting Friday 13th January 2012
4 x 3 hour lessons = 180€
6 x 3 hour lessons = 270€
Maximum of 7
Minimum of 5 required to run a group
If you are interested in more information or would like to book on a course then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you live in the Geneva area and are keen to progress your snowboarding or skiing this winter… or is it time to learn from scratch and join in the fun? This article gives you all the information you need; from lesson details, how to get to the ski slopes and where to stay.
The extensive Portes du Soleil ski area is situated about an hours drive from the center of Geneva, with the closest ski resorts in the Portes du Soleil network being Morzine, Avoriaz and Les Gets. These resorts, seen by many as the snowboard capital of Europe, are all high enough to be snow sure and are well equipped with snow cannons if needed. Here is some useful information to help you organise your visit:
Mint Snowboard School is a small team of mainly British snowboard instructors all qualified to the highest level in the sport and providing high quality, professional instruction. Easy to understand techniques are provided with fun focused coaching for all levels, from beginner to pro freestyler! We offer tuition in both English & French. For Information on snowboard lessons & coaching check out our website.
- The British Alpine Ski School – Morzine & Les Gets
- The Snow Institute – Morzine & Les Gets
- Freedom 2 Ski – Avoriaz
Transport from Geneva to the Morzine area:
- Car: takes approximately 1 hr
- Bus services from Geneva airport:
Local accommodation offering short stays (eg 1 or 2 nights):
- Chalet style accommodation
We are happy to announce that as from this winter, Mint Snowboard School will be offering snowboard lessons in the resort of Chatel, part of the Portes du Soleil ski area.
The reputable Mint Snowboard School has been established in the resorts of Morzine, Avoriaz & Les Gets since 2006. This winter one our team of top qualified British snowboard instructors will be based out of Chatel, for the 2011 – 2012 winter season. Mint offers a range of tuition, including private lessons, group courses, freestyle coaching, off-piste guiding, avalanche safety & awareness and much more. We teach all levels, from total beginners to training instructors and advanced freestyle coaching. For more information on the range of instruction we offer check out our website on snowboard coaching in the Portes du Soleil.
If you are a local Chatel tour operator reading this, please get in touch for more information on Mint Snowboard School. We will be happy to meet you and bring around flyers etc.